City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

LAKELAND, FLFebruary 8, 2012 (Lakeland, FL) – The City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department is hosting its Annual Black History Festival this Saturday, February 11th from 10:00am – 1:30pm at the Coleman-Bush Building, 1104 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.  This year’s festival features the theme, “The Bridges That Brought Us Here” and will have several new elements of celebration and education, including various activities for all ages focused on heritage and black inventors.  The day will conclude with a program highlighting historical figures, in addition to present-day dance class performances and oratorical contest winners.  Come out and enjoy a fun and educational day with the Parks & Recreation Department.

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At the Lakeland City Commission meeting held February 6th The beautification Committee presented landscape awards to John Radabaugh, owner of the a residence at 839 Mississippi Ave. and Lanier Upshaw Inc. the business at 1115 US 98 South.

The city honored the following employee’s for their years of service to the citizen’s of Lakeland:

  • For 10 years: Joel Adams, Fredrick Barthle, Chelsea Dearie, Samuel Fox, and Shannon Williamson.
  • For 20 years: Mark Ashley, Mindi Fitch, Tim McCausland and Don Nix.
  • For 25years: Jimmy Causey Jr., Lourdes Duncan, Gordon Harper, Alan Lukhauband John Sanders.
  • For 30 years: Robert Sloan.

The Real Estate and Transportation Committee recommended, that the city purchase the property, located at 608 N. Morgan Avenue, which had experienced documented flooding due to the as part of The Lake Parker Southwest Basin Stormwater project.

The Municipal Boards Committee recommended that the following appointments be made:

  • Charlotte Garrison and Lee Thomas, to the Code Enforcement Board.
  • Jeff Brooks to the Historic Preservation Board.
  • Diretta Wilcox, to the Polk TPO Citizen’s Advisory Committee.
  • Dave Curry to the Utility Committee.


The commission instructed staff to research for further discussion a request by Billy Townsend reference adding same sex partners to the city's benefits package.

A request for a conditional use to allow a community garden on property located at 1229 East Myrtle Street was approved.

Conditional use to allow beer and wine sales as a complement to an existing retail business on property located at 229 North Kentucky Avenue was approved.

Zoning to allow residential units for the elderly with varying levels of care and support on property located at 5555 N. State Road 33 was approved.

The Commission approved adoption of t he Florida Fire Prevention Code, 2010 Edition.

The Commission approved amending the City of Lakeland Concurrency Management Ordinance.

The Defined Contribution Plan (401a) amendment was approved.

A lease purchase agreement for various energy efficiency improvements in various city facilities was approved.

Public hearings were scheduled for the February 13th Commission meeting for discussion of: standards for Solar Energy Systems, reinstatement of ordinances 3617, 3643, and 3449 and the Deferred Compensation (457) plan amendment.

Assessments in the amount of $30,560.86 for lot clearing activities performed by the city at 95 different properties were approved.

A contract for the sale of 719 N. Massachusetts Avenue to Parker Street Ministries, Inc. in the amount of $1,276,500 was approved. After adjustments for capital investment in the property in the amount of $1,119,048.26. and $25,000 in rent payments the resulting  $132,451.80 mortgage will be held by the Community Redevelopment Agency with a lump sum payment due at the end of the 10 year term.

A $545,000 construction bid for the Lakeland Police Department training center expansion was awarded to Miller Construction Inc.

A task authorization for the design phase of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport taxiway bravo extension was approved with the understanding that due to FAA fuding the city share for the entire project will be $140,500.

Task Authorization for a Wildlife Hazard Assessment (WHA), development of a wildlife hazard management plan, and conducting wildlife hazard management training at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport was approved. The city share of the cost for this project is expected to be $7,895 subject to final approval of FAA.

An agreement with The Davenport Group for the Installation and use of land management software at an initial cost of $212,517, maintenance costs for years two and three will be $29,026 per year with subsequent years subject to an adjustment for CPI, not to exceed 4%.

In final action the Commission voted to approve favorable recommendations from the Utility Committee regarding an Agreement with Siemens Energy, Inc. for the Purchase and Installation of a High Fidelity Simulator for Lakeland Electric’s McIntosh Power Plant and Agreement with C & C Power Line, Inc. for Replacement of Conductors on Lakeland Electric’s Transmission Line.

The total cost of the agreement, with Siemens, which includes the equipment and installation, is $1,496,548, which includes $199,251 for the personnel training program.

The total cost to complete the work associated with this upgrade to the Transmission Line is $634,110. As part of the overall $3,172,000 project Progress Energy has agreed to reimburse the City 50% of the total estimated cost of the upgrades, the ultimate cost to the City for this C&C agreement will be $317,055.


LAKELAND, FL (February 2, 2012)  -- On Monday, February 6, 2012, Lakeland Electric will be closing portions of Ingraham Avenue from McDonald Street to US 98 South. The road closure will take place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. starting February 6th through February 28th.

The closure is necessary to allow Lakeland Electric enough room to relocate electric power poles and overhead electric power lines along Ingraham Avenue.  These closures are necessary to provide safety for our employees and the public.

This work is necessary to continue to provide electricity safely and reliably to our customers.  A message board has been installed to advise those already using this route of the pending closure.  Traffic will be clearly routed by the appropriate signs and barricades to assist with an orderly flow of traffic.  Questions should be directed to Lakeland Electric’s Project Manager at 863/834-6311.




LAKELAND, FL (January 31, 2012) -- Long-time Parks & Recreation employee Bill Tinsley, who has served as Department Director since 1993, including service for the past two years under a Conditional Employment Agreement following his retirement, has been appointed to a newly established part-time position as Special Liaison to the Detroit Tigers / Manager of Community Resources Development. His successor as Director of Parks & Recreation will be named within the next two weeks following completion of a selection process involving internal candidates.

Tinsley will become the City’s primary representative to start working on a new Detroit Tigers Spring Training and Minor League Operations Use Agreement.  The current agreement is scheduled to expire in 2016.  The position will also include responsibilities for solicitation and organization of private sector funding for special City projects and initiatives.

“Last year the City and the Detroit Tigers celebrated our 75 year Spring Training relationship - the longest in Major League Baseball and they hold a special place in our hearts.  The Tigers organization and the City have already started discussions about their future capital and program needs and it is our goal to officially start the process in an effort to negotiate a successor agreement that can be added to the current agreement before it expires,” said City Manager Doug Thomas.  “Bill’s history and unique understanding of their operations is an invaluable asset as we work with the team on the successor agreement. Bill has also demonstrated tremendous abilities as a fundraiser and Lakeland has benefitted greatly through the partnerships he has developed over the years.”  

Thomas added, “Several community park projects enjoyed by area residents, many of which are the envy of other cities, were only possible through the generous individual, corporate and organizational contributions which now total in the millions of dollars.  In today’s challenging economic climate, it is our plan to build upon the historical fundraising successes of the Park & Recreation Department and provide an organization-wide focus for public-private partnerships for future capital projects and initiatives.”

Primary job duties and responsibilities for the position include:

· Explore and analyze proposed capital and operational needs desired to support the Tigers Major and Minor League Baseball operations.

· Coordinate community events and related activities with the Tigers organization.

· Concentrated legislative efforts at both the local and state level to secure financing commitments.

· Coordinate with the Florida Grapefruit League host cities to develop a comprehensive understanding of their respective municipal baseball facilities and explore strategies to help maintain a sustainable Major League Baseball Spring Training Season in the State of Florida.

· Secure private sponsorship dollars for public/private collaborative projects.

· Coordination with the Lakeland Area Community Foundation in support of private contributions.

· Develop annual report that records all in-kind contributions, leveraged grant dollars and all endowments.

Tinsley was first employed by the City of Lakeland in 1971 and has served in a variety of positions before his appointment to the Director of Parks & Recreation in 1993.  He graduated in 1971 from the University of South Florida with a degree in Physical Education, Health, and Recreation.  He is a Certified Public Manager and he has been a Certified Park & Recreation Professional for almost 40 years. Tinsley will be paid an annual salary of $79,900 in his new position.